What are Safe Relationships?

What are Safe Relationships?

safe.relationships.newlife

I (John) have a fitness fanatic friend named Mark who evangelizes me on the gospel of health whenever he has a chance. He’s a lovable guy, but he’s the kind who always finds a way to change the conversation to exercise, diet, and vitamins.

We were having breakfast one day, and he began talking about his struggles with his wife, Diane. They were going through a painful period and having lots of conflict. Instead of giving advice, I listened and tried to understand what Mark was going through.

As we talked, he expressed everything from sadness to frustration to anxiety. By the time we finished, however, his face had relaxed, and he could actually smile and joke around.

‘You look like you’re feeling better,’ I said.

‘Absolutely, I’m more encouraged’, Mark said. ‘Wheat toast, fruit, and herbal tea make me a new man’! Then he looked at me and grinned sheepishly. ‘Uh, and it might have helped to have someone to talk to,’ he admitted.

Though Mark wasn’t sure about that fact, I am. What happened at breakfast is that I acted as a safe person for Mark to confide in. Just as surely as we were taking in our breakfast to sustain us physically, so we were talking to sustain ourselves emotionally. We were enjoying the great benefits of a safe relationship.

What is a safe relationship?

We like to think of a safe relationship as one that does three things:

1. Draws us closer to God.

2. Draws us closer to others.

3. Helps us become the real person God created us to be.

The Bible refers to these three areas of spiritual growth. We fulfill the greatest commandment, to love God (Matt. 22:37-28). We keep the second commandment, to love each other (Matt. 22:39). And we grow into the particular person that God created us to be, accomplishing the tasks he has designed for us (Eph. 2:10).

When we asked people to describe a ‘safe person’ to us, they gave us these descriptions:

A person who accepts me just like I am.

A person who loves me no matter how I am being or what I do.

A person whose influence develops my ability to love and be responsible.

Someone who creates love and good works within me.

Someone who gives me an opportunity to grow.

Someone I can be myself around.

Someone who allows me to be on the outside what I am on the inside.

Someone who helps me to deny myself for others and God.

Someone who allows me to become the me that God intended.

Someone who helps me become the me God sees in me.

Someone who touches my life and draws me closer to who God created me to be.

Someone who helps me be like Christ.

Someone who helps me to love others more.

We would all want people in our lives that help us in these ways. But the problem is, how do we recognize them? What do they look like?

We all struggle on different sides on the ‘safe relationship’ issue. Some do not even think we need relationships with other people. They think the Lord is enough and that you should only trust in him. Others think that they must depend only on themselves. Still others believe that the Bible teaches the value of relationships, but then they find themselves in hurtful relationships over and over again. They pick hurtful friends, spouses, churches, work partners, spiritual leaders, and dating relationships. They seem to not have the ability to find and like safe people. Having a seemingly astounding talent for finding people that will ultimately hurt them, they repeat patterns over and over again, and then become discouraged about relationships in general.

So for us to begin to utilize safe relationships, we need to first understand what a safe person is and why we need that kind of safety. The best example of a safe person is found in Jesus. In him are found the three qualities of a safe person; dwelling, grace, and truth.

As John wrote: ‘The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and the only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).

John Townsend & Henry Cloud

Surround yourself with safe people at one of our weekend workshops. Our check out some of our excellent resources.

Warning: Facebook Could Destroy your Marriage

A New Jersey pastor told his married church leaders that they either had to delete Facebook or they would have to resign from their leadership role in the church. Other pastors have likened Facebook to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and have urged their entire congregation to shut down their pages. The issue became more urgent when the marriage statistics came out for 2011. The report said that 33% of all divorce filings mentioned in their paperwork Facebook as a factor that led to the divorce.

We cannot blame Facebook–it’s what people do on Facebook that is the problem. The most obvious problem develops when out of curiosity, one reaches out to an old flame–“just to see how they are doing.” Or an old flame reaches out to us for the same reason. Without realizing it, we can soon be spending more time “Facebooking” with an old flame than we’re doing face-time with our spouse. And the longer we reminisce about those old feelings the more we find they become current feelings.

I don’t do Facebook. I have a Facebook page, but it is managed by the New Life Live radio/TV program people. But I’ve worked with couples whose major complaint was that their spouse was spending hours a day on Facebook, posting pictures, chatting, and checking on their “friends’” postings. It’s all too easy to get caught up in what appears to be someone else’s exciting life, especially if we feel we are merely existing.

Another step to creating a major problem in a marriage is for one partner to become too personal in what they share with a “friend.” Talking about your marital issues with someone other than your spouse creates intimacy with that person, and it is especially dangerous if they are of the opposite sex. That’s really how just about every Facebook affair begins–They say they simply just sat and talked with an attractive other about what was not working in their marriage.

In the real world, an affair can take months to develop. But on Facebook, all it takes is a couple of clicks. People are tempted, and it is so much easier to give in to that temptation on Facebook. One may be too reserved, or shy in real life, but they can become much bolder behind the screen than they would be in person. Many of those who have ended up destroying their marriage would never have even thought about having an affair without the private seduction available over Facebook.

How do you know if your marriage is in danger? The problem is already occurring if one person refuses to talk with their spouse about what is happening on their Facebook. If you are being shut out of your spouse’s activities on Facebook, your marriage is probably already in the danger zone. Safety comes with complete openness regarding who you each are talking with, and when both of you know all of each other’s passwords. That’s at least a beginning point in protecting your marriage. Be careful in this digital age–you don’t want to be one of the 33%.

How do you handle Facebook and other social media issues in your marriage? In your family?

Article was sourced from the blog of Dr. Dave Stoop with permission:  Dr Stoop is a regular co-host on New Life Live.

Learning to Say "No"

So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back.
HEBREWS 12:1 NCV

Face facts: If you haven’t yet learned to say “No” —to say it politely, firmly, and often—you’re inviting untold stress into your life. Why? Because if you can’t say “No” (when appropriate) to family members, friends, or coworkers, you’ll find yourself overcommitted and underappreciated.

If you have trouble standing up for yourself, perhaps you’re afraid that you’ll be rejected. But here’s a tip: don’t worry too much about rejection, especially when you’re rejected for doing the right thing.

Pleasing other people is a good thing . . . up to a point. But you must never allow your “willingness to please” to interfere with your own good judgment or with God’s priorities.

God gave you a conscience for a reason: to inform you about the things you need to do as well as the things you don’t need to do. It’s up to you to follow your conscience wherever it may lead, even if it means making unpopular decisions. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to be popular with God, not people.

Some of us would do more for the Lord if we did less.   ~Vance Havner

Many people never receive God’s best for them because they are addicted to the approval of others. ~Joyce Meyer

When we are set free from the bondage of pleasing others, when we are free from currying others’ favor and others’ approval—then no one will be able to make us miserable or dissatisfied. And then, if we know we have pleased God, contentment will be our consolation.   ~Kay Arthur

Don’t be addicted to approval. Follow your heart. Do what you believe God is telling you to do, and stand firm in Him and Him alone.   ~Joyce Meyer

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, when I need to say no, give me the courage, the wisdom, and the strength to say it. Today and every day, help me follow my conscience, not the crowd. Amen

Is Your Child a Victim of Cyberbullying?

Excerpted from the book Internet Protect Your Kids by Steve Arterburn and Roger Marsh

By the time he reached middle school, Ryan though he’d faced his fears and defeated them. Ever since a bully started picking on him with a couple of buddies in the fifth grade, Ryan had lived on an emotional roller coaster. Now it appeared that things were finally beginning to even out or at least that’s what his parents thought.

School was always somewhat of a challenge for Ryan. He wasn’t exactly the smartest or most athletic kid in his class. He always gave his best effort, but preadolescence kids aren’t big on awarding ‘A’s for effort’ in the classroom or on the playground. A couple of aspiring young goons made Ryan for an easy mark, and the bullying was on.

Over the next two years, their taunting and teasing was relentless. So, in an effort to help his son develop better physical coordination and a healthier self-image, Ryan’s dad enrolled both he and his son in a kickboxing program. It seemed to work. Ryan loved working out with his dad, and his physical coordination steadily improved. John Halligan stressed with his son that he should never use these techniques to start and altercation, but finishing one was a completely different story.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, then, when John received a call from Ryan’s school one day that his son had been involved in a fight. The bully had started it, but Ryan hung in there right with him. Afterward, he seemed to have gained a new measure of self-respect, which made his parents proud.

That pride soon turned to concern when Ryan announced shortly after the fight that his former nemesis was now his good friend. Against their better judgment, the Halligan’s chose not to intervene a decision they would soon come to regret.

Burned by Flame Mail

Ryan had been active online for a couple of years at that point, and he seemed to relish his Internet communication with the former bully and other friends. But Ryan’s attitude became more sullen again over time, even more withdrawn than he’d ever been during the worst of the bullying he’d received in elementary school. Still, his parents kept their distance, hoping their son would be able to work through the issues on his own.

The middle schooler did all he could to convince his parents that nothing was wrong, that his former tormentor was now his friend. But in reality, that simply wasn’t true. Turns out the bullying did not end after the fight that day; it merely shifted to the Internet and grew even more intense. The bully who befriended Ryan convinced the shy boy to share some of his deepest personal secrets’ and then spread them around by posting them on his online profile.

Sometimes the bully would utilize ‘flame mail’ (an email blast designed to agitate or embarrass the recipient). ‘Flaming’ typically involves copying the flame mail to as many people as possible in this case, several hundred kids from Ryan’s middle school. The pain and humiliation of this constant online torment proved to be too much for Ryan.

Ryan Halligan was just thirteen years old when he took his own life. It was only after his death that his father began to understand the depth of the terror Ryan lived through every day online. He started reading through his son’s instant messages and discovered how cruel kids can be to each other. At the height of the harassment, even kids who didn’t know Ryan were getting in on the bullying.

Is Your Child Being Bullied Online?

At this point you may be asking yourself, Is one of my children the victim of cyberbullying right now? That’s a fair question, especially if you’ve never had this kind of conversation with your kids.

When we were growing up, most of the boys could quickly figure out who the ‘tough guys’ were. We had to decide either to stand and fight or find creative ways to avoid these guys. The same held true on the other side of the playground, as the ‘mean girls’ would rule their part of the school with cunning, conniving, and catty behavior.

Today, the cyberbully strikes in many of the same ways that the traditional school thug used to, with one major difference. The cyberbully can attack you even when you’re not around. In fact, you may not even know whether or not you’re being attacked. All it takes is one text message insinuating an embarrassing revelation about someone (for example, ‘Dude, Jeff told me he’s gay!), and that message will be posted and pushed to literally thousands of Internet and cell phone users in a matter of seconds.

How to Protect Your Kids from Cyberbullies

1. Caution them not to engage with or retaliate against a cyberbully.

2. Have them save any email or instant message communication they’ve had with the bully. Should the bullying lead to a criminal action, your records will prove most helpful to the law enforcement officials assigned to your child’s case.

3. Teach them to recognize flame mail when they see it. (Some bullies will try to bait their victims into trying to defend themselves against false accusations. Let your kids know they don’t need to take the bait. Do not respond but save and file. )

4. Encourage them to become observers of bullying tactics. The passive aggressive behavior of cyberbullying makes it a challenge to patrol. Sometimes it involves something as seemingly harmless as a child’s away message on instant message that makes a veiled derogatory reference to a fellow classmate or a former friend. Oftentimes, these exchanges go back and forth for a couple of hours or days, and then blow over. But when they don’t, your child may be dealing with a cyberbully.

5. Believe them when they say they’re being bullied online. Assure them that you’ll walk through each step of the process with them to end the attacks. Most adolescent kids usually fall into two categories when it comes to how they think their parents view them: they either think their parents don’t care about them, or they figure that their parents can’t possibly relate to what their going through. But even mature adults find it difficult when they’re bullied and harassed themselves. Showing your kids your own vulnerability in this area will give them a deeper sense of connection with you as you walk through this situation together.

These are just a few examples of how you can begin to Internet Protect Your Kids. If you found this information helpful, please see explore the full content of the book Internet Protect Your Kids.

The Struggle Against Worldliness

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
ROMANS 12:2 NASB

We live in the world, but we should not worship it—yet at every turn, or so it seems, we are tempted to do otherwise. As Warren Wiersbe correctly observed, “Because the world is deceptive, it is dangerous.”

The 21st-century world we live in is a noisy, stress-filled, distracting place, a place that offers countless temptations and dangers. The world seems to cry, “Worship me with your time, your money, your energy, your thoughts, and your life!” But if we are wise, we won’t fall prey to that temptation.

C. S. Lewis said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.” That’s good advice. You’re likely to hit what you aim at, so aim high . . . aim at heaven.

The Lord Jesus Christ is still praying for us. He wants us to be in the world but not of it.   ~Charles Stanley

Our fight is not against any physical enemy; it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We must struggle against sin all our lives, but we are assured we will win.   Corrie Ten Boom

The more we stuff ourselves with material pleasures, the less we seem to appreciate life.   Barbara Johnson

All those who look to draw their satisfaction from the wells of the world—pleasure, popularity, position, possessions, politics, power, prestige, finances, family, friends, fame, fortune, career, children, church, clubs, sports, sex, success, recognition, reputation, religion, education, entertainment, exercise, honors, health, hobbies—will soon be thirsty again! ~Anne Graham Lotz

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, this world is a crazy place, and I have many opportunities to stray from Your commandments. Help me turn to obey You! Let me keep Christ in my heart, and let me put the devil in his place: far away from me! Amen

Five Keys to the 'Packed-Life' Puzzle – REACH for a Balanced Life

Brenda Allison

Review
Evaluate
Admit
Care
Hang On

We’ve all heard the term, mid-life crisis. But what about a mid-year crisis? I’m in the middle of one. Just as in a mid-life crisis a person finds themselves in a place and wonder how they got there. I’m finding myself in such a place and I don’t particularly like it. Why? My life feels out of balance.

So what’s the remedy? I’m using the REACH principal. It’s an acronym to help me remember to ‘REACH for a more balanced life.’

R is for Review. I’m reviewing the past year. Where did I get off track? It started innocently enough. Last summer I moved to a new house. That’s where packing out my life started. As I packed my house, I also started packing my schedule, telling myself it was temporary. I thought I had to ‘pack it all in’ to accomplish everything and at the same time move my household.

E is for Evaluate. I’m evaluating how packing for my move and telling myself it was ‘only for a time’ bled over into the rest of my year. My evaluation revealed some truly great and worthy endeavors were in the mix. It started with packing my schedule with training for a marathon, reading through the Bible in 2003, various training programs at work, and getting involved in lay ministry at Church, along with maintaining my graduate school schedule and normal weekly functioning. Yikes!

This brought me to the point of A, in my REACH for a more balanced life acronym. I need to Admit that even with all the worthy endeavors, now a year later, I am ‘packing in’ vacation. If one family vacation is good, then two must be better, and pack in a graduation trip with my daughter in between the two vacations. Wrong. This is insane. Even something as worthy as vacation has gotten out of balance in my life. I need to admit I am missing the point of vacation. The ‘routine panic’ of my life has even permeated vacation planning. I need to admit the truth that my soul, my spirit need a rest. I need to be recreated; and vacation that is not a time of recreation is a missed vacation.

I am also admitting that I am packing in the food because there’s not time to plan wisely. Besides with a packed out life, there’s no time, no energy, no motivation for planning good food choices. Even the best-laid plans for exercising can go awry when one has no mental, emotional or physical energy reserves left to function on.

So if I’m going to review, evaluate, and admit these things, the next logical step in the REACH acronym is C for Care. I must care enough to make change happen. First I must care enough to get back to the Bible reading habit of 2003. After finishing the Bible, the habit has slipped from its place of priority. I need to get back on my small group Church schedule of reading and journaling. I needed to care enough to cut out the training classes at work and at church. For the time being, enough is enough. Although my work is in the fitness industry and I have been training to teach fitness classes, I need to care enough to admit that in the process of all the training, I am losing the joy of my own personal workouts.

So this leaves me with only the H in REACH for a balanced life, Hang On, while having the courage to change. Now is the time to cancel the second vacation, cut back, scale down and do what is balanced and meaningful. I must listen to my inner voice, the one that has been told time and again, ‘this is just for a short time.’ I’m admitting it has been a year now; a year of packing out my schedule. I’m admitting a packed out life is no fun.

I encourage you to taste the joy of a mid-year evaluation. I’m cleaning up my life and it feels great. Just the thought of it lightens my step, and opens up the room. I can breath easier now. The weight is off my chest. I’ve admitted what my inner voice has been telling me. My life is too packed and it has become a habit. Wish me luck. I may need it. Old habits die hard, you know.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. [Proverbs 16:9]

Has your life become overpacked?  You can find the right balance when you join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Guarding Your Heart and Mind

James Hutchison

One of the biggest struggles men have is living in a world where temptation is so constant. The life that God wants us to live as men of integrity puts us at odds with Satan. The Bible never tells us to attack the forces of evil, because we are not equipped to fight in the supernatural world. Instead we are called to protect ourselves from attack.
The good news is that God does not leave us defenseless.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 6:11 (NIV) says, Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand.

We are called to protect our heart and our mind, in Proverbs 4:23 we read, guard your heart for it is the well spring of life,’ 2:11 says discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you, 4:13 says Hold on to instruction because it will guard your life.

So if you have not looked at the plan that you developed at Every Man\’s Battle, now would be a good time. The plan is your goal! Reflect on what you have been able to keep and what needs more attention. Don’t get discouraged by the things that continue to stop you from reaching that goal. In the book of James, he tells us that when bad things happen, not if, but when they happen that we should consider it pure joy, because whenever we face the trials of life God is testing our faith to develop our perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that we may become mature and complete not lacking anything.

Get together with your small groups, have some clean fun, and don’t get slimed.

If you haven’t attended Every Man\’s Battle yet, please click here for some information.
If you are married and have attended Every Man\’s Battle, we encourage you to attend our next New Life Weekend with your wife.

The Meaning of Stress and How to Live with Less of It

Julie Davis

‘Life is stressful.’ It seems that this is a common statement nowadays. We go about our daily activities accepting traffic, late appointments, long lines and noise as a part of life. Unfortunately, heart attacks, migraines, depression and addictions are also a part of life, and many research studies have concluded a link between stress and these physical ailments.

God’s purpose for stress:
Stress was designed to keep us motivated. Before grocery stores, motels, and clothing outlets, stress from nature and physical needs kept us working fields and animals in the summer so that we would be clothed, fed and sheltered in the winter.

Man’s abuse of stress:
Most of us do not have to worry about our next meal or clothes on our back, yet we are more stressed than ever. Modern society applies a lot of pressure to look, feel, think and behave certain ways. We strive to live longer, maintain beautiful bodies, drive faster cars, raise perfect children and manage successful careers; and we stress ourselves out in the process.

The cost:
There is nothing wrong with wanting a comfortable life; but at what cost? Every choice we make has an emotional, physical, spiritual price tag. We work long hours, take care of others, focus on what we don’t have; and the cost is neglect of God, family and our health.

Reclaiming serenity:
God doesn’t want us to live all stressed out! We can’t do his work when we are tired, sick, or depressed. So how can we reclaim God’s gift of peace and serenity? Here are some tips that may help. If you find yourself unable to de-stress on your own, if you can’t pull out of ‘the blues’ or if you worry constantly, you may need to find a pastor or therapist to help you.

(Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE to find a counselor in your area or to schedule an over the phone appointment with a Christian coach).

Exercise:
Stress puts the body on ‘red alert,’ ready for action. Without exercise, a revved up adrenaline system taxes the immune system causing sickness and disease. Find an activity you enjoy and get to it!

Nature:
With modern technology, most of us are far removed from growing and living things. Gardening, bird watching, grooming a horse, and playing with the dogs are all ways to re-connect with nature.

Water:
Not only drink a lot of it, but lay in it! Studies show that soaking in a hot bath can relieve stress up to 60 percent.

Music:
Learn to play a musical instrument. Even at the beginner level, playing the piano or guitar or whatever will calm you down (at least it may make you and others around you laugh!).

No:
Learn to say this valuable word.

Now:
Most people are living in the past (sadness, guilt, depression) or living in the future (stress, anxiety, worry). What about right now right here? ‘Carpe diem, seize the day,’ is as sound a philosophy today as it was 1,000 years ago. We must learn from the past and prepare for the future, but living is right now, right here.

Connection:
Having good relationships ensures you will have social support, which is critical in reducing stress. Listen to people, be more empathetic, more tolerant. Involve yourself in family, church, activity groups.

Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Amen,

Slave to Creditors

Excerpted from Every Man Ministries by Kenny Luck

There was a time when I needed an overhaul. It happened about 10 years ago when I was a credit-card company’s dream customer! My gold card fed my appetite for all sorts of ‘needs.” Clothes, birthday and anniversary trips, and lavish dinners out were all benign events for which I supplied perfect justifications. Christmas gifts, home improvements, and repairs on my snazzy foreign sports car became part of my lifestyle. And just as reality should have slapped me in the face, additional lines of credit would mysteriously arrive.

I started to earn more money, but I also started to believe my own rationalizations regarding my finances. I trusted our credit cards more than I trusted God. I certainly didn’t have the faith to believe that if we gave our 10 percent, He would make the other 90 percent work for us. So I gave less to the church and spent more on myself. I refused to deny my family any desire. I ignored my wife, Chrissy’s urgings to tighten our financial belts, which only accelerated our insidious spiral into financial bondage. All of the turmoil caused tremendous amounts of anxiety that remained invisible to outsiders but was visibly and verbally incinerating our home and marriage at the end of every month.

10 years ago I was a
credit-card company’s
dream customer!

One night, following a lively discussion with Chrissy about our messed up finances, I happened to open my Bible. My eyes fell to these words: ‘The borrower is servant to the lender’ (Proverbs 22:7). Seven words, seven tons of impact. I was a slave ‘ to my creditors. I had also enslaved my family because of my inability to say no to myself. Worse, my character deficiency had moved God away from the center of my life and replaced Him with financial anxiety. This was a form of idolatry. That truth kindled my repentance and a desire to change, which I confessed to my wife.

I also sought help from friends. Not financial help, but prayer and counsel regarding our precarious financial situation. I can remember weeping in front of my close friends after I disclosed that we had rung up twenty thousand dollars in credit-card debt. I was embarrassed in every way, but I was past caring. I was determined to do what it took to get honest with myself and with the mess I had created. The only way I knew to accomplish that was to humble myself before God, my wife, and my buddies and ask for their help. I remember saying, ‘Whatever it takes, Lord.’ Simply put, if that meant living with one car, so be it. If it meant giving to the church when it made no sense, I would give. If it meant submitting myself to an austere monthly budget for two years to get out of debt, that too, was what I would do.

 I became the RICHEST of all men
because, deep inside,
I was committed to the course!

That day, the last major bastion of control fell into God’s hands, and His victory was both humbling and liberating. Although I was awash in debt, I became the richest of all men because, deep inside, I was committed to the course.

What bastions have you erected against God’s goodness and blessing in your life? Most men can name them in a nanosecond Gad has already been speaking to them, convicting them that their priorities are seriously out of line. God’s message, and mine, is that those walls have to fall ‘ for the sake of His kingdom.

Love + Respect + Good Boundaries = Significant Relationships

Adults who are in significant relationships are meant to be equals and share the reality of who they are in a spirit of mutuality. Some people, however, do not want to be equals. They prefer being ‘one-up’ on the other person. They want to be in more of a parent-child type of connection where they are in charge. They have expectations for the other to be in subjection to them in some way, and are dominating in their style.

This type of “I know better” stance blocks love in a horrible way. There are a lot of “you shoulds,” that dominate the person’s thinking. They freely tell the other person how to think, live, be and what to do. The person who is “under” feels belittled, controlled, dominated and disrespected. Eventually this type of connection produces problems because the ‘one-down’ person resents the dominating one and seeks independence. Jesus said, we are to all be equals putting no one on a parental pedestal. “Don’t ever let anyone call you ‘Rabbi’, for you have only one teacher, and all of you are on the same level as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father.” (Matthew 23:8,9)

Boundary problems are usually seen in someone’s inability to either say “no,” or hear “no” from others. When we have these kinds of disturbances, we either allow people to walk all over us in a way that damages respect, or we walk all over them and “trespass” against them. In the process, love is destroyed. True love respects each other’s boundaries, saying “no” when we need to, and accepting ‘no’ when we hear it.

Another aspect of boundaries has to do with requiring responsible behavior from each other in a relationship and taking a stand against evil when it occurs. True love cannot grow when evil is allowed to triumph. When we have the boundaries to “abhor what is evil,” and take a stand against it, we preserve the good in a relationship and help it to grow by solving problems.

Are you in a difficult relationship? For help with boundaries and other relational issues we encourage you to attend our Weekend Workshops. You’ll laugh, learn, and by God’s grace, be transformed.